Evolution is based on a simple premise (however scientifically questionable it may be): what if the evolutionary process went on offense? Instead of the commonly understood slow change to adjust to new environmental conditions, the evolutionary response to extreme climate change and pollution becomes a rapid transformation of humanity to adjust to the state of the world. But it’s still a subtle change (at least initially), and one which tries to keep itself secret. The story focuses on three people who have become aware of the situation, in different ways.

Dr. Abe Hurley (in Philadelphia) has dedicated his career to the issue. He lost his position at the CDC over his focus on it, and at the beginning of the story is making his living at a free clinic under an assumed name. Sister Hannah (in Rome) encounters the disease when a man commits suicide in her church—and later realizes that she is also transforming. Claire (in Los Angeles) finds herself involved with the evolution via a film producer who is an old family friend.

The first physical manifestation is witnessed by the doctor in the form of a child who has grown gills to eliminate asthma attacks. He theorizes that the disease is a viral infection, like the common cold. As the story proceeds, other sightings are far more extreme, grotesque whole body transformations which artist Joe Infurnari illustrates in fanciful (and gross) ways. There is a continual shuffling between the three characters, which is greatly facilitated by colorist Jordan Boyd’s different color palettes for each of their story arcs.

Hurley sees the evolution as a threat to humanity, as “us versus them.” The other two are just trying to cope with changes in their lives, following their investigations where they lead. They are a diverse group of characters, and it will be interesting to see where the story goes. The End of the World scene that opens the series does not foretell a positive conclusion. This is a graphic horror story that earns its Mature rating with rough language and horrific images.

Evolution, vol 1: Origins of a Species
By Joseph Keatinge, Christopher Sebela, Joshua Williamson
Art by Joe Infurnari, Jordan Boyd
ISBN: 9781534306561
Image-Skybound Comics, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: M

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Character Traits: Black, Latinx, Gay

  • Mark S.

    Past Reviewer

    I am a musician/composer (librarian by profession) with a special interest in “mature readers” comic books, especially those published by DC Comics under their Vertigo imprint. Now retired, in the past I have worked as an academic reference librarian and Director of Research at an executive search firm; my last position was reference librarian at Hughes Main Library in the Greenville County Library System in Greenville, SC. My writing history includes book reviews for Library Journal and Salem Press, and I was a regular contributor of recording reviews to Option Magazine. I am currently a Contributor (as well as Article Editor) at the website All About Jazz and a moderator at the Captain Comics website. My comics blog is Mr. Vertigo Comics (https://mrvertigocomics.wordpress.com/).

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